Trump’s opinions about Huawei and other Chinese companies(and in fact the country itself) have been more than open. He has down right imposed a ban on the company’s operations in the US and has asked his allies to follow the lead. However, the plan seems to be going astray from Trump’s intentions.
EU has decided to not impose a blanket ban on Huawei in light of the 5G ban and has defied Trump’s ‘advice’. Instead of the outright ban, as was being advised by POTUS, EU has decided to implement a toolbox of measures to mitigate 5G risks. As mentioned earlier, none of these rules suggest a ban on the companies, much like the decision coming from UK’s parliament earlier.
UK decided to not ban companies like Huawei but categorise them as ‘high risk’ and thus not allowing them to operate in security sensitive areas of the telecom network. Moreover, a cap of 35% has been set on the market share for these high risk companies, in an attempt to diversify the network. The number can come down in the future, depending on how things go.
The new set of rules release by EU include bolstering the role of national authorities, audits of telecom operators and measures to ensure diversity of suppliers for any single telecommunications operator, much like the UK. In addition, the EU proposes stricter screening of foreign direct investment in the area of 5G and possible anti-dumping duties and other penalties for companies benefiting from state subsidies.
“We know that the decisions the EU and its Member States will take on these matters will have an impact in the way we relate with our partners,” Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President in charge of digital affairs, said at a press conference. “What we are defining today is a European approach to 5G security.”
This step from EU can be effectively called a counter measure that the country had to take to not get dragged into the Sino-US war. China is its second-biggest trading partner, and disturbing its relationship with it can end up being financially expensive. On the other hand, no one wants to have the US on its bad side either.
Again, Huawei’s own prowess in the telecom space could also be a reason for such balancing policy decisions coming in from major geographies. Huawei is the world largest telecom equipment maker and has an unassailable lead over its next tip 5 rivals. The company has developed indigenous 5G teach at an unprecedented pace, powered by its financial might and technological advantage. All these factors combined, it would have been a loss for EU or the UK to not have Huawei within their countries.